Babylon 5: Season 1- Signs and Portents

Don’t mind us, just making an incredibly addicting space opera TV show.

Babylon 5 has been recommended to me a number of times by other science fiction fans. It came out when I was young enough that it probably would have been well beyond me. So, it’s taken a while for me to get into it since I didn’t grow up on it and, let’s be honest, the special effects haven’t aged well at all. It makes the show seem very cheesy at times, and it’s also clear at points that it is over-acted. The CG is extremely out of date. So I wasn’t sure if I could get into it. But, when a flash sale happened on Amazon and I had some Christmas money, I grabbed the whole series at a bargain price and decided to finally check it out. I need to talk about season one, now. There will be spoilers for this season only. Please DO NOT SPOIL any later seasons!

Signs and Portents

I did not expect, at all, the total mixture of feelings that this show has made me feel. I laughed, I cried… I got involved. It’s fantastic television of the absolute highest order. I just finished season 1 and let me tell you, I have feelings about it. The characters are fascinating (though I gotta say, I’m still not 100% sold on the casting of Garibaldi–the guy just doesn’t look the part they try to have him play as a relentlessly tough guy). I absolutely love Ambassador Mollari, for example. He’s a walking trope, but what a way to play it! They flesh him out so that you don’t mind him, and his humor is just spot on.  The music is just phenomenal, by the way.

Also, can we talk about how this is basically just a space opera novel series as a TV show? I mean seriously how is this show not even more revered than it is?

I want to talk about some of the episodes, too. First, “Believers.” What the hell, Babylon 5? Why you gotta do me like that? Just thinking about that episode pains me. It seems like a not-so-subtle look at Jehovah’s Witness beliefs about blood transfusions and refusing care based on that, but they somehow make it almost sympathetic by having the doctor be so damned uncaring about other people’s beliefs. Then, they gotta turn around and plunge the knife in and twist it. I was not ready for that! Not at all!

“Deathwalker” was another great episode. “You are not ready for immortality” – Ambassador Kosh, laying down the law on humans. Or should I saw the Law? I don’t know. It was awesome.

“Born to the Purple” was fantastic character development for Ambassador Mollari, but holy crap was I not ready, again, for the feels I’d have when Garibaldi finally tracked down what was going on with Ivanova. It made Ivanova much more interesting–she had initially seemed very one dimensional to me, but now she’s a hardass with heart and I love it.

“Soul Hunter” was awesome for its turnabout on the villain narrative. Just a fantastic bit of storytelling there.

Also what the hell is going on here?

And all throughout this season, there are, yes, “Signs and Portents” that show something bigger is happening. The finale is just fantastic. Now it’s time for me to go watch more of this fantastic series!

Links

Babylon 5 Hub– Find all my Babylon 5-related posts and content here.

J.W. Wartick- Always Have a Reason– Check out my “main site” which talks about philosophy of religion, theology, and Christian apologetics (among other random topics). I love science fiction so that comes up integrated with theology fairly frequently as well. I’d love to have you follow there, too!

Be sure to follow me on Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies/scifi/sports and more!

SDG.

 

12 thoughts on “Babylon 5: Season 1- Signs and Portents

  1. Oh boy, are you in for a ride. I’d be very happy if you’d come back once a season to give us your impressions. It’s always nice to hear from someone who watches it for the first time. It has been especially interesting to see that some episodes that many of us long-time-fans probably wouldn’t rank among the best that S1 has to offer made such a huge impression on you. I don’t know if you watch YouTube-Reviews (I usually don’t), but you might want to check out “Katie watches Babylon 5” – another take on the show from a newbie. Here’s the link to the first video, which tackles the episodes 1-5: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wv48U0Bsgbw

    Anyway: Have fun!

    • Forgot to mention: If you decide to watch the YouTube-reviews, avoid the comments! Those can be spoiler-y.

    • J.W. Wartick says:

      Thanks for the recommendation! I’ll have to watch some of these alongside it. I’ve been surprised how many longtime fans say they didn’t like the first season much. I adored it. I thought it had tons of spectacular episodes.

      • Sarah says:

        A lot of folks found Sinclair cold/stiff, and that put them off Season 1. I liked him, and agree there were a number of good eps.

  2. Michael says:

    I watched when it first aired and all I can say is you’re in for a heck of a ride. And that season one will become even more fascinating when you can see where certain threads go. I enjoy going back and finding the ways that JMS set things up in season one to pay off in season two, three, four and five.

  3. […] I’ve been watching it since, sneaking it in between the many things going on in my life. I wrote already about Season 1, but I wanted to break season 2 into a couple posts, because there’s so much to talk about! […]

  4. […] I’ve been watching it since, sneaking it in between the many things going on in my life. I wrote already about Season 1, but I wanted to break season 2 into a couple posts, because there’s so much to talk about! […]

  5. […] Babylon 5: Season 1 Signs and Portents– My review of the first season, as I enthusiastically begin my first-ever watch of the show. I highlight some favorite episodes and share some thoughts on where I think it might go. From what other fans have told me, some of the my opinions (i.e. my thoughts on “Believers”) are off of the norm. I especially am surprised by how many people say they think Season 1 is weak. I adored it. I can already tell you season 2 is better, but for me, Season 1 was 5-star television already.  […]

  6. […] how Zathras was a huge setup for me earlier in the series. I didn’t write about him in my recap of season 1 at all largely because I thought he was some weird, probably insane creature. But here he is, and […]

  7. […] could find and afford. I started writing posts after season 1, and discussed the whole season in my first-ever post about the series. After splitting season 2 into two posts, I realized how much fun it was to analyze and discuss […]

  8. ShiraDest says:

    ” this is basically just a space opera novel series as a TV show?”

    Yes, we can!
    🙂

    I need to get some work done today, but will come back to this post to start reading your reviews here. I actually began my review series with ‘In The Beginning’ because Ranger Mayann told me to!
    😉

    -Shira

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